Spinning is the art of casting and retrieving a lure designed to look or act like a small fish, frog or mouse. Spinning is often a deadly method and most sea, game or coarse anglers find it necessary to use this method at times. Using a variety of spinnerspoons and plugs, anglers use it for a number of different species on waters throughout the country.
For young anglers, spinning is also one of the best methods. Armed with one or two plugs, a closedface fixedspool reel and a decent spinning rod, the novice will learn both to cast and to catch a sizeable fish.
When to spin?
Generally speaking, spinning is a good method for the open river where there are deep pools, or for large stillwaters, gravel pits and reservoirs. One should not spin, if unskilled, in confined spaces, as retrieval will be difficult. If the river is overhung with much vegetation though it may hold good fish, bad casting will result in lost lures.
Choice of rod depends on the water more than anything else. On big rivers, gravel pits or reservoirs you may need a powerful, twohanded, steppedup carp rod to throw biggish spoons, spinners or plugs a long way. In contrast, on small rivers, canals or ponds, short casts with a 78ft spinning rod of hollow glass for use with lines of 58 lb b.s. May be adequate.
A certain amount of common sense is needed in choice of rod: big pike or salmon on a small river, for example, would need a powerful line, from 10 lb 20 lb b.s.
Reels for spinning
The choice of reels is legion. It is possible, though, for the experienced angler to spin directly from a topclass centrepin. With plugs you can pull off loops of line from the rod rings, while for sizeable plugs and heavy spinners you may use a multiplying reel. Multipliers are accurate on short to moderate casts, but difficult to use for light baits. Other than for light spinning, closedface reels are rarely used. For playing heavy fish they prove to be ineffective since the line within the housing goes through too many angles, creating considerable friction. Many openfaced fixedspool reels are, however, superb. One with a roller pickup and a reliable, easily reached antireverse switch is especially useful.
The species of fish also governs the choice of rod, reel and line. In weedy water, like the Fenland drains, you need heavy line and a powerful rod to hold the fish. The same applies to heavy fish in small waters. On the other hand, when perch or chub fishing, a MK IV carp rod, or its lighter version, the Avon, in glass or split cane, is excellent.
The wide range of rods and reels provides great versatility of spinning techniques. Lines are also varied, but a good standard line is a simple nylon, usually dyed dark in colour, and supple. Some anglers use plaited nylon, particularly on multiplying reels, but monofil generally has more stretch.
For fish with sharp teeth you may need a wire trace on the line. This applies particularly to pike and zander and many sea fish, but not when spinning for game fish, or coarse fish such as perch or chub.
Minimum of equipment
At the waterside, remember that you are always on the move, so a minimum of equipment is advisable. A small rucksack on your back is best, to hold food and waterproof clothing, and an angler’s waistcoat with numerous pockets for spinners, spoons and miscellaneous items of tackle such as a spring balance, forceps for removing lures from fishes’jaws, a sharpening stone for blunted hooks, scissors and other small items, will prove useful.
Where to cast
Where to cast? First, with a sinking spinner, find out the depth of water working on the principle of retrieving slow and deep. Cast out and allow the spinner or spoon to sink with the pickup off, and judge the time it takes the spinner to strike the bottom. As the spinner nears the bank, raise the rod top to avoid the lure running into the slope. Casting in a fanwise fashion, each cast being some five degrees to the side of the previous cast, is also used, but this can make for boring fishing, except from an anchored boat. It is probably better to cast where you think the predator will be.
In winter, when the sky is blue, the air a shade above freezing and the frost crunches under the boots, spinning for perch is possibly the perfect fishing method. The feet and body keep warm, the tackle is at a minimum, and the only caution to be taken is that of keeping bank vibration down. A slither on frozen mud can be a disaster.